Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a highly recommended depression treatment that can succeed when antidepressants have failed. According to research conducted by Harvard University, about 66% of people who have depression do not get significant relief from taking antidepressants.Such patients can benefit from an alternative depression treatment like transcranial magnetic stimulation. About 50 percent of…
How is TMS Used in Depression Treatment?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an alternative depression treatment that can significantly reduce or eliminate the symptoms of depression. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for depression. TMS can also be used to treat other disorders like anxiety and OCD.
TMS therapy involves repeatedly sending electromagnetic waves into a patient’s brain. It is also known as repetitive TMS or rTMS. During the treatment, a device that houses an electromagnetic coil is attached to the patient's head. Turning the device on and off sends pulses of electromagnetic waves into the patient’s prefrontal cortex. This is the area of the brain that controls mood. Stimulating neurons there can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression.
TMS as a depression treatment
Depression is a mental health issue that is characterized by a lack of interest in regular activities and frequently being in a depressed mood. Symptoms of depression include:
- Loss of pleasure or interest in things that were once fun
- Hypersomnia or insomnia
- Weight or appetite changes
- Loss of energy or fatigue
- Psychomotor retardation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Fixation with suicide
People who deal with a loss of interest and any other four of the symptoms listed above are typically diagnosed with depression.
Antidepressants are often the first treatment doctors recommend for people with depression and they can be effective for some. However, about 50 percent of people who take antidepressants do not experience significantly reduced symptoms. About 35% percent of people who undergo TMS therapy experience no symptoms after completing their treatments, while about 55% have fewer symptoms.
TMS treatment for depression consists of getting about five treatments per week for up to seven months. Most patients only need a round of treatments to put depression behind them, while others might need follow-up treatments a few years down the road.
Before a patient’s first treatment, the doctor will look for the best location to place the TMS device on the patient’s head. The first appointment lasts the longest and it can take up to an hour.
The patient will be taken to a treatment room and seated in a reclining chair. Earplugs will be provided so the patient is not irritated by the clicking sounds made by the TMS device. The patient might feel like someone is tapping their head as electromagnetic pulses are sent through their skull.
The doctor will increase the magnetic dose being delivered until the patient’s hands or fingers twitch. This is used as a reference point for future treatments.
Once the proper threshold has been established, pulses will be sent into the patient’s head for about 20 minutes during each treatment. Patients will be able to drive themselves to their next destination following their treatments.
Eliminate the symptoms of depression
Ready to get back to enjoying life and your favorite activities? Call or visit our Massapequa clinic to learn more about how TMS therapy can be used as a treatment for depression.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Depression Treatment in Massapequa, NY.
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